Vettel keeps Red Bull on top in testing

By on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Catalunya testing 2011Red Bull remained on top on day two of the final winter test at Barcelona, as world champion Sebastian Vettel gave another impressive demonstration of his team's 2011 pace.

After Mark Webber's timesheet-topping run yesterday, Vettel swiftly moved to the head of the order this morning, and then put in a blistering 1m21.865s time at the start of a five-lap stint.

Though Vettel's pace swiftly dropped off, his initial lap was 0.7 seconds quicker than anyone had managed in Barcelona testing so far, and he would dip into low-1m21s again on several other short stints. In the afternoon he focused mainly on long runs, doing a pair of 16-lap outings in which his times averaged in 1m28s before fading.

It was a one-two for Red Bull-owned teams, as Toro Rosso continued its encouraging winter with second place for Sebastien Buemi.

His best time of 1m22.396s came on an afternoon qualifying-style run, and followed a very respectable race simulation in the morning. He also managed to complete 120 laps despite stopping on track and causing a red flag mid-afternoon, and went through a dozen consecutive practice pitstops at the end of the day.

Renault's Vitaly Petrov followed a similar schedule, and earned his third place with a 1m22.670s at the start of a four-lap stint before switching to long runs. He caused the session to end very slightly early when he stopped at Turn 6 and prompted a final red flag.

It was another very tough day for McLaren. A hydraulic leak and then two exhaust issues interrupted Lewis Hamilton's morning, forcing the team to abandon a planned race simulation. He later got up to fourth on a single-lap, qualifying-style run in the afternoon.

Ferrari was back in fifth with Felipe Massa as it introduced a new exhaust and some aerodynamic changes, but its form was more encouraging than the result suggested. There were no one-lap-only runs from the Brazilian, whose best time came at the start of a five-lap outing, and on longer runs of around 14 laps his pace often matched Vettel's.

Paul di Resta was in the top three for a while during a morning of testing Force India's qualifying pace, as he quickly bounced back from causing a fuel pressure issue that caused a stoppage. He covered 118 laps by the end of an afternoon of longer runs, taking sixth in the order ahead of Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber.

Mercedes brought a new exhaust and some bodywork upgrades today as well, with more significant changes to follow later in the week. Nico Rosberg's eighth place was a quiet start for the package, though some medium-length stints of around 10 laps averaging in 1m27s compared well to other teams.

Jarno Trulli was ninth for Lotus, followed by Pastor Maldonado, as a KERS problem severely hampered Williams. The team had to miss most of the morning as a result, and only managed 29 laps later on after disconnecting the energy recovery device.

Virgin's Jerome D'Ambrosio completed the field, 7.1s off the pace. He also lost some running to an electrical problem.

Pos  Driver             Team/Car              Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1m21.865s            112
 2.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m22.396s  + 0.531s  120
 3.  Vitaly Petrov      Renault               1m22.670s  + 0.805s  116
 4.  Lewis Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1m22.888s  + 1.023s  57
 5.  Felipe Massa       Ferrari               1m23.324s  + 1.459s  101
 6.  Paul di Resta      Force India-Mercedes  1m24.334s  + 2.469s  118
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        1m24.436s  + 2.571s  107
 8.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1m25.807s  + 3.942s  100
 9.  Jarno Trulli       Lotus-Renault         1m26.090s  + 4.225s  98
10.  Pastor Maldonado   Williams-Cosworth     1m26.989s  + 5.124s  29
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth       1m28.982s  + 7.117s  64

All timing unofficial

Report By Matt Beer - AUTOSPORT

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